Preliminary hearing in 1982 murder set for Friday | NevadaAppeal.com

Preliminary hearing in 1982 murder set for Friday

by F.T. Norton
Appeal Staff Writer

A hearing Friday in justice court will determine if there is enough evidence to try a Trinidadian man for the 1982 murder of Sheila Jo Harris.

David Winfield Mitchell, 61, remains in the Carson City Jail without bail on a charge of open murder. He was extradited back to the U.S. from the West Indies in October.

Mitchell, who led a quiet life in Port-of-Spain, where he lived with his teenage daughter, was arrested in August after a 2000 review of DNA evidence linked him to the strangulation death of Harris, 18.

Harris’ battered body was found by her mother in the bedroom of her Foothills Garden Apartment after she failed to show up to work. An autopsy revealed the community college student had been beaten and sexually assaulted.

Mitchell worked at the apartment complex as a handyman and was a suspect in the case from the start.

He was arrested in the 1980s, but the charges were later dismissed with a right to refile because of a lack of evidence. Shortly after Harris’ murder, Mitchell and his ex-wife moved to New York, where he was deported to Trinidad after being accused of being in the country illegally.

Mitchell is being represented by the Nevada Public Defender’s Office.

• Contact reporter F.T. Norton at ftnorton@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1213.